A Journey Back to the Classics

by Armand Kovacs, 17.10.2019

Throughout my life I took a more technical direction because I have always been a technical person. I love everything tech/engineering related. So there shouldn’t be any surprise that one of my favourite all-time writers is Jules Verne. When I saw that the Philharmonie Luxembourg had a show named “20000 lieues sous les mers” I immediately decided I will attend this event.

This was the first time I saw Jean-François Zygel but he managed to bring me back to the books I love so much.

He did a very interesting approach to a concert, combining light, mood, passages from the books themselves and music to immerse the audience in the extraordinary world of Captain Nemo and the Nautilus.

In the beginning it was only mister Zygel whom gave us a sort of background to the story itself, to Jules Verne’s novel, to the main characters who each had a musical piece created for them to represent their traits and personalities. It was rather touching to hear a piano musical representation of characters I imagined so many times, these pieces masterfully capturing the essence and spirit of Ned Land, Professor Aronnax, Captain Nemo and Conseil.

(c) Philharmonie JF Zygel (20 000 lieues sous les mers)

Then the concert took an unexpected turn because the members of the Ensemble de Saxophones de Strasbourg were integrated into the performance and songs. It was pretty exciting and interesting to see how well the Saxophone and the piano combine to create the mysterious (although cold) beauty of the sea presented by the author in his book. We managed to see young talented people who really made the performance stand out.

(c) Philharmonie _ JF Zygel (20 000 lieues sous les mers)

This show is a show to go to

Although it is based on a book that most people have read and maybe many people consider a children’s book, it is complex, deep, has an interesting structure of combining musical pieces with passages from the book itself and impressions from the artist that round up the whole story.

In itself I would not call this representation a concert, that would oversimplify what it is. Jean-François Zygel created a complex story combining narration, discussion and music. Instead of making it just a concert (just playing the music) they have managed to tell a complete story which can capture your attention and also gives the audience an insight on the thoughts behind the composition. I think it is an experience in itself and it has made me look forward to more shows from mister Zygel which I will surely attend.

(c) Philharmonie _ JF Zygel (20 000 lieues sous les mers)

If you wish to see more things from mister Zygel he actually has a duel coming up shortly which you can find more details about here.  Also if you want to see what else is up at the Philharmonie Luxembourg you can find their schedule here. (they have really cool stuff coming up and if you are under 27 it’s even better because you have some really good deals for tickets).